The origin of hybrid edible bananas (Viewpoint)

The origin of hybrid edible bananas
The ori­gin of hybrid edible bananas

Bananas and plantains (Musa spp.) provide a staple food for many mil­lions of people liv­ing in the humid trop­ics. The gen­omic con­sti­tu­tion of the dip­loids has been clas­si­fied as AB, and that of the trip­loids as AAB or ABB; how­ever, the mor­pho­logy of many acces­sions is biased towards either the A or B phen­o­type and does not con­form to pre­dic­tions based on these gen­omic for­mu­lae. On the basis of pub­lished cyto­types, De Langhe et al. hypo­thes­ize that the evol­u­tion under domest­ic­a­tion of cul­tiv­ated banana hybrids is likely to have passed through an inter­me­di­ate hybrid, which was then involved in a vari­ety of back­cross­ing events. Such a com­plex ori­gin of the cul­tiv­ated banana hybrids would imply a recon­sid­er­a­tion of cur­rent breed­ing strategies.

Annals of Botany Office.

The Annals of Botany Office is based at the University of Leicester.